The former Marsden fire station
The former Marsden fire station
Richard Bell

Former Huddersfield fire station built 109 years ago set for residential makeover

Work has started on a project to transform a 109-year-old fire station in Huddersfield into new homes.

Developer SB Homes received the greenlight from Kirklees Council to turn the Marsden property, which it acquired in 2017, into a house and 26 apartments.

SB Homes is renting the properties out instead of selling them, which made the typical ‘106’ obligations that place affordable housing requirements on developers more complex.

The planning decision was deferred in June but a new agreement was decided in October.

According to SB Homes, the project is, in effect, a pilot for a new kind of social housing scheme.

The company is entering into a Section 106 with Kirklees Council, requiring it to provide two of the rental units at 80% of their market value. If it works, similar schemes could be rolled out across the UK.

Stephen Byram, managing director of SB Homes, said of the project: “If we were selling the properties, we would have sold two of the apartments to a registered social landlord at cost price – and they would manage and rent the properties out.

“In effect, we’ll be doing exactly the same thing, but the properties will be managed by ourselves – and will be subject to all of the same conditions as a social landlord.”

In 2008, SB Homes worked on a similar project when it built Ancion Court, a social housing scheme in Marsden. The site is managed by Connect Housing.

Stephen continued: “The scheme worked really well for the community – there’s huge demand for affordable, accessible housing in our valley.

“While two of the units will ‘officially’ be affordable, we’re a local developer with roots in our community, so all 27 properties will be in line with affordable rates.”

The project’s planning consultant, David Storrie, commented: “Recent changes in the revised National Planning Policy Framework recognise the contribution that rented housing can make to delivering housing; and that private developers can assist in this delivery.

“SB Homes, as a long-established, local family-owned house builder, is pleased to be making headway with this new policy. I look forward to this quality scheme being delivered and am proud to have provided specialist town planning advice in securing the planning permission.”

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